Tue, 16 April 2024
Vote for secular candidates: Goa church to Catholics

Timeline  Refresh

23:57   Amitabh Bachchan to receive Lata Deenanath Mangeshkar Puraskar
Megastar Amitabh Bachchan will be honoured with the Lata Deenanath Mangeshkar award, the Mangeshkar family announced on Tuesday. 

The family and the trust instituted the award in the memory of Lata Mangeshkar, who died on February 6, 2022, following multiple organ failure. 

Bachchan, 81, will receive the recognition on April 24, the memorial day of their father and theatre-music veteran Deenanath Mangeshkar. 

This award, known as the Lata Deenanath Mangeshkar Puraskar, is given every year to an individual who has made a path-breaking contribution towards the nation, its people and society. 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi was its first recipient, followed by Lata Mangeshkar's sister Asha Bhosle in 2023. 

Music maestro A R Rahman will receive the Master Deenanath Mangeshkar Puraskar for contribution to Indian music, said a press release issued by the Mangeshkar family. -- PTI
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23:47   Vote for secular candidates: Goa church to Catholics
Ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, Goa's influential Catholic church on Tuesday appealed to its followers to cast their vote for candidates with "secular" credentials in the state who are truly committed to uphold the values enshrined in the Constitution. 

In a circular issued ahead of the May 7 voting in the coastal state which has two Lok Sabha seats, Archbishop of Goa and Daman, Filipe Neri Cardinal Ferrao, exhorted Catholics and other citizens to fulfil their democratic responsibility by exercising their franchise in the upcoming elections. 

He requested priests, chaplains and superiors of religious houses in Goa to organise special prayer services on May 3 and May 5 for the genuine success of the elections. 

"The church's obligation to participate in nation-building and in shaping the moral character of the society is a requirement of our faith. It is in this spirit that all eligible Catholic voters need to exercise their franchise on May 7, 2024, casting their vote for persons with secular credentials, who are truly committed to work for the good of all the people and to uphold the values enshrined in our Constitution," the archbishop said. 

The head of the church in Goa said it is universally recognized, especially in a democracy, that the responsibility to make choices in political life rests with each individual, guided by a properly formed conscience. -- PTI
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23:07   Hotels in Delhi's Karol Bagh, Najafgarh offer 20% discount for voters
In a bid to boost voter turnout in the Lok Sabha elections, hotels located in the Karol Bagh and Najafgarh zones here have announced a 20 percent discount offer for eligible voters, officials said on Tuesday. 

The Lok Sabha elections in Delhi are slated for May 25. 

"This initiative underscores the crucial role of voter participation in strengthening democracy and nurturing civic responsibility," Abhishek Mishra, deputy commissioner of Karol Bagh Zone, said. 

Under this scheme, voters must provide the proof of their participation by displaying the ink mark on their finger to avail of the discount. 

Emphasising the significance of every vote, Mishra said, "The initiative aims to encourage citizens to actively engage in the democratic process and fulfil their civic duty. By providing tangible benefits to voters, the associations hope to drive up the voter turnout and promote civic engagement in the Karol Bagh and Najafgarh areas." 

He also said that the public health department of MCD is approaching traders in the Karol Bagh area to explore the possibility of extending similar "enticing" offers. -- PTI
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22:46   3 Air India flights used Iranian airspace amid tension
Air India on Tuesday said some of its west-bound flights are planned along a safe alternative route on a day when some of its flights used the Iranian airspace. 

Flight tracking websites on Tuesday showed that at least three Air India flights used the Iranian airspace amid the Middle East crisis. 

Responding to a PTI query in this regard, an Air India spokesperson said, "as part of our continual operational risk assessment some of our west-bound flights are planned along a safe alternative route which is used by many other airlines". 

A source in the know said the flight path was a safe corridor in the Iranian airspace. 

"Air India will continue to monitor flight operations in the Middle East in close consultation with various safety and security organisations and regulatory bodies," the spokesperson said in a statement. -- PTI
22:07   HC orders removal of defamatory SM content against Gaurav Bhatia
The Delhi high court on Tuesday directed the removal of alleged defamatory content from social media platforms against BJP spokesperson and senior advocate Gaurav Bhatia in connection with an incident at a Noida court where he was "manhandled". 

The high court said while the threshold of public criticism and alleged defamatory posts on social media platforms is much higher, individual dignity and honour cannot be allowed to be defamed on the grounds of the right to free speech and expression. 

The court passed the order on an application by Bhatia for interim relief to take down the offending content from social media platforms. 

Justice Neena Bansal Krishna condemned the manhandling incident and said the advocates may have been on strike in the Gautam Buddh Nagar court, but when plaintiff Bhatia was informed about it he agreed to an adjournment which was also granted. 

In these circumstances, pulling his band or manhandling as has been stated by him in his plaint, were the most reprehensible/ condemnable act committed upon him, the high court said. 

The court said the press and the media had a duty to report this incident for the benefit of the public, but there was also a corresponding duty to remain truthful about the incident. 

The deepfake videos showing Bhatia being beaten up and the claims of the plaintiff are nothing but an over-sensationalisation and depiction of facts that are patently false, it said. 

The court said dissemination of such videos has not only caused harm to his reputation but also has the potential of persistent threat of being aired and used against him in future and the content is liable to be restrained from being kept in the public domain till the suit is finally decided. 

It said an irreparable loss and injury would be caused to the plaintiff if the deepfake videos and posts are allowed to be in the public domain and no harm would be caused to defendants if the material is restrained from being in the public domain. 

The suit was filed against several YouTube channels and X (formerly Twitter) handles.
LCA Tejas firing an Astra Mark-1 missile/File Image/ANI Photo
LCA Tejas firing an Astra Mark-1 missile/File Image/ANI Photo
21:43   India to test IAF's 130 km Astra Mark-2 missile soon
In a major capability boost for the Air Force's fighter fleet, India is planning to carry out the first test of the 120-130 km strike range Astra Mark 2 air-to-air missile in next few months.  

The Astra Mark-1 air-to-air missile with strike range of around 90-100 kms is already in the Indian Air Force and is already integrated with the LCA Tejas and the Su-30 MKI fighter jets.  

The work on developing the 120-130 km strike range Astra Mark-2 air-to-air missile is going on and we are looking to carry out the first test firing in the next few months, defence officials said.  

The Astra Mark 2 would give the Indian Air Force an edge over the adversaries in air-to-air combat and can also be offered as an export product to friendly foreign countries operating the Russian origin Sukhoi, they said.  

The Defence Research and Development Organisation has been working towards developing the Astra Mark-1 and Astra Mark 2, along with a longer version, the Astra Mark-3, which would give it a capability similar to the Meteor missiles that have come to India along with the Rafael fighter jets.  

The Pakistanis may have long-range Chinese PL-15 air-to-air missiles but there is no clarity about the claims made by them about its capabilities.  

The ministry of defence has already signed a contract with Bharat Dynamics Limited for supplying Astra Mark-1 beyond visual range air-to-air missiles for the Indian Air Force and the Navy. -- ANI                       
IAF veteran Dalip Singh Majithia (second from right)/ANI on X
IAF veteran Dalip Singh Majithia (second from right)/ANI on X
21:23   IAF veteran Dalip Singh Majithia dies at 103
Veteran air warrior Squadron Leader (retd) Dalip Singh Majithia, who joined the Indian Air Force during the tumultuous years of World War II and distinguished himself as a "fearless aviator" during his career, has died. 

He was 103. 

The centenarian, who had "over 1,100 flying hours to his name", including missions in aircraft such as Hurricanes and Spitfires, passed away at Uttarakhand's Rudrapur in the early hours of Tuesday, IAF sources said. 

He was affectionately called 'Maji' by his fellow air warriors. 

Sqn Ldr Majithia's leadership skills were forged and tested in the crucible of war, they said. 

From patrolling of skies to reconnaissance and bombing missions, he took on each challenge with grit, skill and unparalleled courage. 

His tenure as the flight commander of the legendary Number 4 Squadron -- 'The Fighting Oorials' -- from 1942 to 1943 at Burma, remains etched in the annals of history, the IAF sources added. 

Under his guidance, this squadron became synonymous with bravery and camaraderie, and earned accolades and admiration from all quarters, they said. 

The IAF on Tuesday bade final farewell to its icon as the centenarian air warrior left an impressive legacy behind. 

He was born in Shimla on July 27, 1920 and his passion for aviation propelled him to join the IAF volunteer reserve in 1940 during the tumultuous years of World War II, the IAF sources said. -- PTI
US national security advisor Jake Sullivan/File image
US national security advisor Jake Sullivan/File image
20:52   US NSA Sullivan postpones India visit for 2nd time this year
US national security advisor Jake Sullivan has postponed his visit to India this week in view of the evolving situation in West Asia following escalating hostilities between Israel and Iran. 

It was the second time this year that Sullivan deferred his trip to India. 

The senior Biden administration official was scheduled to hold wide-ranging talks with his Indian counterpart Ajit Doval on the progress in implementation of the US-India Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technologies, besides other issues. 

"Due to ongoing events in the Middle East, NSA Sullivan has postponed his trip to India this week," a US embassy spokesperson said. 

West Asia has been reeling under increasing tensions after Iran carried out the first direct attack on Israel by firing hundreds of drones and missiles early Sunday. 

Iran carried out the attack on Israel in response to a suspected Israeli strike on its consulate in Damascus on April 1 that killed seven Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards including a senior general. 

"NSA Sullivan looks forward to holding the iCET annual review at the next earliest possible date and remains personally committed to advancing our deeply consequential and multifaceted partnership with India," the spokesperson said. -- PTI
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20:41   HC to hear pleas against Maratha quota in June
The Bombay high court on Tuesday adjourned till June 13 hearing on a bunch of petitions challenging the Maharashtra government's decision to grant reservation to persons from the Maratha community. 

A full bench of Chief Justice DK Upadhyaya and Justices Girish Kulkarni and Firdosh Pooniwalla did not pass any urgent orders on the interim relief for a stay on operation of the quota sought by the petitioners. 

The bench clarified that as per an ad-interim order passed by a coordinate bench in March, any admission made or employment given under the quota would be subject to final outcome of these petitions. 

The full bench had last week commenced hearing on the petitions. 

On Tuesday, the court said the full bench would be available from Wednesday till summer vacation that is scheduled to begin in May. 

The court said it would continue hearing the matter after reopening on June 13. -- PTI
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20:25   14 injured after fire erupts in metre cabin of eight-storey building in Mumbai
Fourteen persons, including two children, sustained burn injuries when they rushed out of their homes in panic after a fire erupted in the metre cabin of an eight-storey building in Malad in Mumbai on Tuesday, an official said. 

The blaze broke out in the metre cabin under the staircase at the entrance of Girnar Galaxy building in Sundar Nagar around 9.48 am, the official said. 

While the blaze was put out in less than 10 minutes, 14 persons sustained injuries when they tried to leave the premises, he said. 

Chief fire officer of Mumbai Fire Brigade Ravindra Ambulgekar said, "People sustained burns as they tried to leave the building when they found out about the fire. There wouldn't have been any injuries if they had waited inside their homes for the fire brigade to evacuate them safely." 

The injured persons included five senior citizens and two children, another official said. 

Three persons are undergoing treatment at the civic-run Shatabdi Hospital, while 11 are admitted to the National Burn Centre at Airoli in Navi Mumbai. -- PTI
The dhow apprehended by Navy along with 940 kg narcotics from Arabian Sea/Courtesy Indian Navy on X
The dhow apprehended by Navy along with 940 kg narcotics from Arabian Sea/Courtesy Indian Navy on X
20:05   Navy seizes 940 kg drugs from dhow in Arabian Sea
The Indian Navy, supported by a multilateral combined task force, has seized 940 kg of contraband narcotics in the Western Arabian Sea, officials said on Tuesday. 

Indian Navy's elite MARCOs commandos, deployed onboard frontline ship INS Talwar, seized the narcotics from a 'dhow' on April 13 as part of an operation named 'Crimson Barracuda', an Indian Navy spokesperson said. 

It was the first time that the Indian Navy carried out a "drug interdiction" as a member of the Combined Maritime Forces. 

INS Talwar, operating in support of the Canadian-led Combined Task Force 150, conducted its first interdiction of illicit narcotics as a member of CMF, seizing 940 kg of drugs in the Arabian Sea, the CMF said. 

The CMF is a 42-nation naval partnership aimed at upholding the international rules-based order by promoting security and stability across 3.2 million square miles of water encompassing some of the world's most important shipping lanes. 

"Indian Naval ship INS Talwar, mission deployed in Western Arabian Sea for maritime security operations, as part of combined task force led operation Crimson Barracuda successfully apprehended a suspicious dhow on April 13," the Indian Navy spokesperson said. 

"The ship's specialist boarding teams and MARCOs seized 940 kgs of contraband narcotics. The drugs are being disposed off as per standard operating procedures," he said. -- PTI
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19:37   37 animals, birds rescued amid heatwave in Mumbai in two days
As many as 37 animals, birds and reptiles were rescued from parts of Mumbai and its suburbs amid extreme hot weather in the last two days, an official said on Tuesday. 

The India meteorological department had on Monday issued a heatwave warning in the metropolis and its neighbouring districts. 

The Resqink Association for Wildlife Welfare, in coordination with the Mumbai range of the forest department, rescued 37 animals, birds and reptiles that suffered from dehydration and sunstroke, and were found displaced in different parts of the city, said Pawan Sharma, RAWW founder and president and the honorary wildlife warden with the forest department. 

Macaques, langurs, bats, parakeets, kites, sparrows, pigeons, crows, and snakes were rescued in the last two days, he said. 

Ten rescued animals and birds died during treatment, Sharma said, adding that the ones responding to the treatment will be released into the wild once they are fit. -- PTI
File image of North Block/ANI Photo
File image of North Block/ANI Photo
19:25   Minor fire in North Block, no file damaged: MHA
A minor fire broke out at North Block, which houses the ministries of home affairs and personnel, in the high-security Raisina Hills in New Delhi on Tuesday but no one was injured and no file was damaged, a home ministry spokesperson said. 

The cause of the fire appears to be a short circuit in the electrical equipment on the second floor of the building and it was contained within 20 minutes by the joint efforts of CISF, CPWD and Delhi Fire Services. 

"A minor fire broke out in Room No. 209, North Block at around 9.15 AM on April 16, 2024 where the International Cooperation Division of the DoP&T (Department of Personnel and Training) is located. 

"No injuries have been reported. No physical records/files have been damaged. A few furniture items and some equipment got partially damaged," the spokesperson said. 

According to a senior Delhi Fire Service officer, a total of seven fire tenders were rushed to the spot and flames were doused by 9.35 am. 

The DFS officer said a Xerox machine, some computers and some documents caught fire. -- PTI
18:48   Days ahead of voting, Gadkari unveils manifesto for Nagpur, promises new jobs
Union minister and BJP Lok Sabha candidate from Nagpur Nitin Gadkari on Tuesday released his own "manifesto", promising to create one lakh jobs in the next five years if re-elected and put the urban constituency in Maharashtra among top five cities in terms of development and cleanliness. 

Gadkari's 'Vachannama' or election manifesto underlined his vision for Nagpur for the next five years if elected from the Vidarbha city, where voting will take place in the first phase on April 19, for a third term. 

Addressing a press conference after releasing the document three days ahead of polling, the 66-year-old senior BJP leader also gave account of the work done by him as an MP in the last ten years. 

Gadkari emphasised that in his third term he will work towards making Nagpur 'sundar and swachh' (beautiful and clean) and putting it among top five cities in the country in terms of development, sanitation and hygiene. 

The former BJP president said with the help of state and central governments he will help towards giving ownership rights to residents of unauthorised slums on regularisation and help them in construction of new houses. 

The Union minister said he has already started the work in one of of the slum areas in the city and given ownership rights of 500 to 600 houses. -- PTI
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18:28   18 Maoists killed in Chhattisgarh encounter, 3 jawans hurt
At least 18 Maoists were killed in an encounter with security personnel in Chhattisgarh's Kanker district on Tuesday, the police said. 

Three security personnel suffered injuries in the fierce gun-battle and a large quantity of weapons was also recovered from the spot, they said. 

The gunfight took place at around 2 pm in Hapatola forest between Binagunda and Koronar villages under Chhotebethiya police station limits, when a joint team of the Border Security Force and the state's District Reserve Guard was out on an anti-Maoist operation, a senior police official said. 

"As per preliminary information, at least eight Naxalites were gunned down in the encounter. A huge cache of weapons was recovered from the spot," he informed. 

The three security personnel injured in the gunfight were being shifted to a hospital for treatment, the official said. -- PTI
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17:58   Ferrying polling personnel in helicopters begins amid tight security in Bastar
With tight security in place, the authorities on Tuesday kicked off an exercise to ferry polling personnel in helicopters in Chhattisgarh's Maoist-hit Bastar Lok Sabha constituency, where voting will take place in the first phase of the elections on April 19. 

The authorities have started dispatching electronic voting machines and polling parties to booths in sensitive areas of Bijapur and Sukma districts, a senior official said. 

Located in the southern part of the Bastar Lok Sabha constituency, Bijapur and Sukma districts have reported multiple incidents of Maoist attacks on security personnel during elections in the past. 

A total of 245 polling booths have been set up for general elections in Bijapur, of which 99 booths in the interior areas have been relocated (to safer places), Bijapur collector Anurag Pandey said. 

Around 76 polling parties will be ferried to their destinations in helicopters, and the exercise began on Tuesday from the Bijapur district headquarters, three days before the polling, he said. 

The teams that reach their destinations ahead of the polling day will stay in the nearest camp of security forces, he said. -- PTI
17:41   Why UN diplomat Siddharth Chatterjee is making waves in China
Siddharth Chatterjee, the head of the UN in China, is making waves on Chinese social media where he showcased his tough yoga and fitness exploits, including breathing exercises in sub-zero temperatures, which he says helped him to maintain physical and mental equilibrium. 

 Chatterjee, the UN Resident Coordinator for China, recently released a documentary on the efficacy of deep breathing exercises, which he said will provide immunity from viruses like COVID-19. 

 Chatterjee's four-and-a-half-minute documentary titled Breathing for Good Health starts with the recitation of the ancient Sanskrit symbol of Om, sitting shirtless on a frozen lake bed in Beijing, practising deep breathing workout followed by stomach churning and Sheersh Asan, the headstand exercise has gone viral in social media in China.

"Breathing is the first thing we do when we come to the world and the last thing we do when we leave it," he says as he sets to begin the exercise in the sub-zero temperature. 

Chatterjee, 60, said when he was appointed as the lead UN diplomat in China in 2020, he was close to obesity with high cholesterol, hypertension, and pre-diabetic with a high heart rate. With high-intensity breathing, fasting and cold exposure, he lost 25 kgs while managing to attain normal blood pressure and other standard health parameters that helped him to achieve physical and mental equilibrium. 

 Chatterjee's appointment to head 26 UN offices in China made headlines as it came amid the India-China tensions over the eastern Ladakh standoff which is still unresolved. 

 Chatterjee, whose family migrated to Kolkata during the freedom struggle from Bangladesh, went through a torrid childhood following the attack of polio and rose to be a decorated Indian military officer serving in the elite para regiment with postings in the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) in Sri Lanka and counter-insurgency operations in India's North East. He was decorated for gallantry in 1995. 

"At three years I had polio, I still recall the electric shock treatment in the hospitals for the leg to reactivate it." He said he was among the fortunate ones who recovered completely from polio. "I got into the National Defence Academy (NDA) on the second attempt in 1981. It was a transformative moment for me and brought about a dramatic change as I became a polo player, and a boxer winning the best boxing title and many things changed. Graduated from NDA, I joined the elite para regiment," he said. 

 Later, he got a postgraduate degree from the Ivy League Princeton University in the US. His family too has an India-China connection. While he heads the UN mission in China his wife Ban Hyun-Hee from South Korea is the chief of UNICEF social policy in India. 

 In his 25-year UN diplomatic career, Chatterjee served in Kenya, Switzerland, Denmark, Iraq, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan (Darfur), Indonesia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Iraqi Kurdistan besides China. He also served in UN Peacekeeping, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), UNICEF, the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), the Red Cross movement, UNOPS and UN Security. 

 Besides his diplomatic work, his current focus is to spread the goodness of breathing to fight ill-health.
Eknath Shinde with Salman Khan and Salim Khan
Eknath Shinde with Salman Khan and Salim Khan
17:27   Maha CM meets Salman, promises strict action
Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde meets actor Salman Khan at the latter's Bandra residence in Mumbai. "Police will take stringent action in the case," Shinde said after meeting the actor.

 In the aftermath of the firing incident, CM Shinde spoke to Salman over the phone and provided him with additional security cover. Shinde also brought up the firing incident with the Mumbai Police Commissioner and suggested increasing the superstar's security. 

 He assured Salman that the government was with him and he need not worry. Earlier, on Tuesday, Kutch Police arrested the two accused persons and handed them to the Mumbai Crime Branch. Later, a city court sent the two accused to the custody of the Mumbai Crime Branch until April 25 in connection with the firing incident.
17:04   EC was mute when Cong bank accounts frozen: Pilot
Congress leader Sachin Pilot hit the campaign trail here on Tuesday as a star campaigner and attacked the Election Commission (EC) for "remaining silent" when the accounts of the main opposition party were frozen and elected chief ministers were sent to jail. 

Campaigning for his party's candidate Choudhary Lal Singh from the Udhampur Lok Sabha constituency, Pilot accused the BJP government of playing "religious politics to divert attention from its failures" on the development front. 

 "The Election Commission is watching as a mute spectator. In connection with the Chandigarh mayoral elections, we had to move to the Supreme Court for justice, and we got it. They sealed the accounts of the Congress, put elected chief ministers in jail, and tried to muzzle the opposition," Pilot said while addressing a rally. 

 He criticised the BJP leaders for allegedly using religion for political gains, saying, "They centre their politics around issues like mandir-masjid, Hindu-Muslim, Hindustan and Pakistan. However, they show little interest in issues concerning schools, colleges, hospitals, economy, employment, women, youth, farmers, and inflation." 

 Pilot claimed that there is a wave of change sweeping the entire country. "I went to Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Maharashtra, Punjab, Harayan, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh. I want to tell you - it is not true what the media and social media is projecting. But the truth is that the 10-year rule of the BJP government is being questioned by the people. People are seeking a report card of ten years' rule of the BJP government on the ground," he said.

 Highlighting the Congress manifesto, Pilot mentioned five major announcements, including a guarantee that women from poor families would receive Rs 1 lakh in their accounts annually. 

 "Under the rule of the lieutenant governor, outsiders are encroaching lands. Lands that are being cultivated are being snatched from the people and given to outsiders," he further alleged.

 Hitting out at the BJP leaders over their remarks on assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir, he said, "I want to tell you that elections in Jammu and Kashmir will be held before September this year. It is not the government saying so but the order of the Supreme Court."
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16:55   I'm indebted to Ambedkar's Constitution, says Modi in Bihar
In an apparent rebuttal of the opposition's charge that the BJP wanted to scrap the Constitution, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday asserted that he felt "indebted to Baba Saheb Ambedkar's samvidhan" which enabled him to rise from humble origins. 

 Modi, who addressed back-to-back election rallies in Bihar's Gaya and Purnea districts, spoke extensively of the high esteem in which he held the Constitution, mentioning his government's measures like "celebrating Samvidhan Diwas, from schools to the Supreme Court and Parliament". 

 "This year is special. We are going to celebrate 75 years of the Constitution on a scale similar to the Amrit Kaal celebrations which marked 75 years of Independence", said Modi, adding, "Our intent is to reach out to every nook and corner of the country where youngsters will be told how our glorious Constitution was drafted and what is its significance". 

 "People ask me why do I care so much for the poor, the Dalits. I do so because I have risen from among them. I therefore, feel, indebted to the social class. I also feel indebted towards the Constitution framed by Babasaheb Ambedkar which helped me reach where I am," said the Prime Minister. Modi's refrain came a day after RJD president Lalu Prasad, the BJP's principal opponent in Bihar, raked up utterances made by a number of leaders of the saffron party who have said the "Constitution will be changed if we get two-thirds majority in Parliament". 

 References are also being made to RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat's call for "review" of the Constitution in 2015, when Prasad used the statement to allege that the provision of reservations for deprived castes was under attack, and the BJP-led NDA was trounced in the assembly polls held that year. 

 Modi, who has been equating the Constitution with sacred books like the Ramayana, Bible and Koran, pointed out that it was under the rule of the Congress, the RJD's ally, that the Emergency was imposed and several constitutional provisions were suspended. "Our opponents are those who had held the Constitution hostage and tried to tamper with it during the Emergency. Those who want power to remain confined within the hands of a family always treat the Constitution as an eyesore. A reason why they have even begun to threaten that they will not accept outcomes of polls held under the provisions of the Constitution. We must remain united to foil their attempts," said the prime minister.
16:44   Kejriwal moves court to consult his doctor
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has moved to court, seeking permission to consult his regular doctor through video conferencing. It is said that his blood sugar is fluctuating, and he wants to consult his regular doctor.

Special Judge Rakesh Syal directed ED to file a reply on the application. The court listed the matter for hearing on April 18.

Kejriwal's counsel submitted before the court that his blood sugar level is fluctuating and went down to 46.

In this situation, he should be allowed to consult his doctor three times a week, counsel Vivek Jain submitted.

On the other hand, Special Public Prosecutor (ED) Simon Benjamin argued that in jail there are facilities and he can be examined there. He said that he wants to file a reply on the application.

Kejriwal's counsel asked why was ED opposing it if he is taking care of his health.

Arvind Kejriwal is in judicial custody after his arrest by the ED in the Delhi Excise Policy case.

The Delhi Court on Monday extended the judicial custody of Arvind Kejriwal till April 23 in the money laundering case connected to the now-scrapped liquor policy.
16:29   Illiterate, postgraduates, young, old... candidate profile for phase I
India is gearing up for the first of seven phases of Lok Sabha elections, starting from April 19. This time, the elections for the Lower House will be held in seven phases. The first phase of polling will be held on April 19, and the last will be on June 1. Among the major states going to polls in Phase 1 are Assam, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, and Uttarakhand. 
Mamata Banerjee makes tea at a chai stall
Mamata Banerjee makes tea at a chai stall
16:18   I pay for my cup of tea: Mamata to taunts of 'chor'
Demanding a white paper on the investigations conducted by central teams in West Bengal, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday said that PM Narendra Modi who accuses her TMC of corruption should look in the mirror first.

 Addressing an election rally at Mainaguri in Jalpaiguri district, Banerjee said it was the TMC which is fighting the BJP in the state, while the CPI(M) and Congress were working with it. 

 "BJP had sent 300 central teams to Bengal to investigate the allegations of corruption but they didn't find anything. Now, PM Modi needs to answer the people of Bengal, what happened to the MGNREGA funds? Poor people worked under the scheme but were not paid," she said, demanding a white paper on the investigations. 

 "The PM says TMC is a corrupt party. He should look in the mirror first. His party is filled with dacoits," she added. 

 Raising the issue of demonetisation, Banerjee sought to know who benefitted from it. 

 She called the BJP an "anti-Bengali party", and alleged that it was "planning to drive out" tribals, Dalits and OBCs in the "garb of NRC".

 "We won't allow NRC in Bengal," she asserted.

 Upping the ante against the CPI(M) and Congress, she said, "Only the TMC is fighting the BJP in Bengal, while the other two opposition parties are working with it. We are with the INDIA bloc at the national level, but in Bengal, TMC must win to save the country." Banerjee claimed that if the BJP returned to power no more elections would be held in the country.

 "There will be the rule of one man and one party," she claimed. The chief minister also took on the Election Commission, accusing it of not allowing the state government to rebuild the houses damaged by a storm in Jalpaiguri, Coochbehar and Alipurduar. 

 "Let the polls be over, we will rebuild those houses," she said. Claiming that the BJP-led government at the Centre did nothing for the ailing tea gardens of northern West Bengal, she said, "Our government has reopened 59 tea gardens and gave land rights to the workers who have been living there for decades." 

 Banerjee alleged that some BJP members shouted "chor-chor", targetting her convoy in the Chalsa area of the district. "Just imagine their audacity. I am not even drawing my MP pension. I don't take any salary. I travel in my own car and do not use a government vehicle. I wear simple clothes and lead a simple life. I even pay for expenses such as a cup of tea," she said. PTI
15:48   BJP washing machine at full spin in Bengal: Cong
The Congress on Tuesday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of handing tickets to "corrupt politicians" and asked how can the PM make pretensions about eradicating corruption when the "BJP washing machine" is clearly at full spin in West Bengal. Congress general secretary in-charge communications, Jairam Ramesh, attacked the BJP ahead of his political rally in West Bengal. 

 "Today's questions for the PM as he heads to West Bengal: Has the ED forgotten about Tapas Roy? Why does the BJP keep making empty promises about Gorkhaland? Can the PM help Justice Ganguly in choosing between Gandhi and Godse?" he said 

 "Jumla details below: TMC leader Tapas Roy was raided by the ED in January this year in connection with a money laundering case. A damning video shows Suvendu Adhikari -- himself a beneficiary of the Washing Machine Yojana and now the BJP's LoP in West Bengal - stating that Tapas Roy was involved in a municipal recruitment scam," he said on X and shared the video of Adhikari. 

 "Just three months later, in March, Roy joined Suvendu Adhikari in the BJP and is now contesting from Kolkata Uttar Lok Sabha seat. The ED probe is supposedly still on. The PM's 'Bhrashtachar Hatao' slogan is shamelessly plastered all over the country even as his party is busy handing tickets to corrupt politicians. Why has ED action against leaders like Tapas Roy been stalled?" Ramesh said.

 "How can the PM make pretensions to eradicating corruption when the BJP Washing Machine is clearly at full spin in West Bengal?" the Congress leader said. Noting that widespread protests broke out in Darjeeling last year when the Gorkhas renewed their long-standing demands for a solution to the Gorkhaland issue, Ramesh said that in its election manifestos of 2004, 2009, 2014 and 2019, the BJP has promised a "permanent political solution to the issue of Darjeeling Hills, Siliguri Terai and Dooars region". Despite winning the Darjeeling Parliamentary seat in every election since 2004, the BJP has shown no attempt to take any concrete action, he claimed. 

 "Promises are made before every election, only to be conveniently swept under the carpet when the BJP retains power. Only the Congress has taken concrete action to address the people's concerns - setting up the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration in 2012, and its predecessor, the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council, in 1988," he said. Do the prime minister and the BJP have the integrity to finally follow through on their empty promises, he asked. "How does the PM plan to address the long-standing issues of the Gorkha people?" Ramesh said. 

 He said that Justice Abhijit Ganguly's resignation to contest the elections for the BJP has raised serious questions about the independence of the judiciary. "In addition to those doubts, his comments since then have raised doubts about the BJP and the PM's commitment to our country itself. When asked to choose between Gandhi and Godse, Mr. Ganguly said he would need 'time to think' about this choice.

"At a time when BJP's MPs and MP candidates are threatening to amend the Constitution all over the country, this raises fears about the BJP's commitment to Indian nationalism and the Indian state," Ramesh said. "Can the PM clarify his personal stance on choosing between Gandhi and Godse," he asked and added, "Does he also need time to think?" -- PTI
15:24   Modi isn't scared of those who oppose CAA: PM
Accusing opposition parties of "vote-bank politics", Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said that those opposing CAA for political benefits need to know that he will not be scared nor will he bow down.

 Addressing a rally in Purnia, Bihar, in support of NDA candidates, Prime Minister said the government has taken several measures for the welfare of the poor and accused RJD of "misrule" when it was in power. 

 He accused the opposition parties in Bihar of allowing illegal intrusion for "vote bank politics" 

 "Seemanchal is a sensitive area. Those doing vote bank politics have compromised with security by allowing illegal intrusion in the Seemanchal-Purnea area...I want to assure you that the govt has an eye on every element that tries to mess around with the country's security...Those opposing CAA for political benefits need to know that Modi will not be scared nor will he bow down," PM Modi said. 

 Congress and RJD have questioned the timing of implementation of Citizenship Amendment Act whose rules were notified last month. PM Modi said the deprived and exploited sections are the priority for the BJP-led NDA government. "'Jisko kisi ne nahi poochha, hum usko pooj rahe hain'. There was a time when the central government would term Bihar as backward. But we have made the development of Seemanchal and Purnia our mission," he said. 

 PM Modi said 25 crore people have been brought out of poverty and his government worked day and night for them. "Our government will work for developing connectivity through Vande Bharat and Namo Bharat trains in the Seemanchal area. 'Aapke Sapne Hi Modi Ka Sankalp Hai," he said. PM Modi said that the work done by his government in the last 10 years is only a trailer. 

 "The work done till now is just a trailer. Now, we have to take Seemanchal, Bihar and the entire India much ahead," he said. PM Modi also referred to the BJP manifesto released on Sunday and said the government will continue to its thrust on the welfare of the poor. The BJP released its poll manifesto on Sunday with the tagline "Modi ki Guarantee". 

 Purnia is witnessing an interesting battle with Pappu Yadav, who has won the seat earlier, throwing his hat in the ring as an independent candidate. Pappu Yadav had recently joined Congress. BJP has fielded Santosh Kumar while RJD has fielded Bima Bharti.
14:57   Modi govt has brought RBI on the doorstep of insolvency'
The situation is so grave now that the RBI is not in a position to save the sinking banks in India. Lakshmi Vilas, Yes Bank, and DHFL are all in the red.

Read the report here. 
14:54   'My name is Arvind Kejriwal & I'm not a terrorist'
"My names is Arvind Kejriwal and I am not a terrorist" is the Delhi chief minister's message for the countrymen from Tihar jail, AAP leader Sanjay Singh said Tuesday, slamming the BJP for the treatment being meted out to him in custody. 

 The BJP is trying to break him out of "malice and vendetta" but he will emerge stronger from all of this, Singh said. Addressing a press conference here, Singh alleged that a "notorious criminal" lodged in Tihar jail was allowed to meet his lawyer and wife in the barrack, while Kejriwal had to meet Punjab Chief Minster Bhagwant Mann across a glass screen. 

 Hurt by the treatment being given to him, Kejriwal has sent a message for the countrymen: "My names is Arvind Kejriwal and I am not a terrorist", Singh said. The Delhi chief minister's assertion borrows from Shahrukh Khan-starrer 'My Name is Khan' in 2010 in which the actor famously says "My Name is Khan and I am not a terrorist". Singh said, "Kejriwal was being treated like a terrorist and he was allowed to meet Punjab Chief Minster Bhagwant Mann across a glass screen." 

 Singh, who walked out of the jail recently after spending six months in a money laundering case, alleged, "In jail number 2 of Tihar, a notorious criminal meets his lawyer and wife inside the barrack. Meetings of other inmates are also held in the office of the jail."

 He did not take any names though. Director General (prisons) Sanjay Baniwal on Monday said no distinction is made in the treatment meted out to the inmates and it is ensured they get the same basic rights.
Representational image
Representational image
14:23   Hit-and-run: Car travels 18 km with biker's body
A car driver in Ananthapuramu, Andhra Pradesh, collided with a biker and drove for 18 kilometres with the victim's body on the roof of the vehicle.

 The driver fled the scene and is still at large, but a murder case has been registered, and efforts are underway to apprehend the driver. A fatal road accident occurred near Kothapalli in Atmakuru Mandal on Sunday night, resulting in the tragic death of a biker.

 The collision occurred when a car and a bike collided, causing Erriswamy to be thrown into the air and subsequently onto the car, where he succumbed to his injuries. The driver of the car continued for approximately 18 kilometres without stopping, eventually coming to a halt at Hanimireddypalli before fleeing the scene. 

Authorities are currently piecing together the full sequence of events surrounding the incident. Sub-Inspector Atmakuru Muneer Ahmed stated that upon receiving reports of the accident involving an Innova vehicle, law enforcement officers promptly responded and commenced an investigation.

 However, the body of the deceased biker was not initially located at the scene. The driver, whose identity remains unknown at this time, abandoned the vehicle after sounding an alarm. 

Nonetheless, authorities have obtained relevant details, including the vehicle's registration number, and have activated the mobile phone found within the vehicle for further investigation.
Rescuers fish out a school bag from the river. Pic: Umar Ganie
Rescuers fish out a school bag from the river. Pic: Umar Ganie
14:07   Boat capsizes in Jhelum river in J-K; 4 dead, many missing
A boat carrying mostly school children capsized in the Jhelum river on the outskirts of the city on Tuesday, leaving four people dead and many others missing, officials said. Three people were rescued after the incident in Gandbal Nowgam area.

 Officials said many others are missing and a rescue operation is underway. It was not clear as to how many people were travelling in the boat. Incessant rains over the last couple of days have led to an increase in the water levels of several water bodies, including Jhelum.
Indian Ambassador Akhilesh Mishra
Indian Ambassador Akhilesh Mishra
14:03   'Party apparatchik': Cong slams India's envoy
The Congress on Tuesday took strong objection to the criticism directed at it by the Indian envoy to Ireland while responding to an Irish daily's editorial, saying that attacking opposition parties openly in a manner like a "party apparatchik" was "disgraceful behaviour" and the ambassador should be sacked. 

 Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh hit out at Indian Ambassador Akhilesh Mishra over his remarks in his "rejoinder" to The Irish Times over what the embassy said was a "highly biased and prejudiced editorial, casting aspersion on Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi, Indian democracy, law enforcement institutions & 'Hindu-majority' people of India". 

 In the rejoinder, Mishra said, "Further to 'The Irish Times' view on the Indian election: Modi tightens his grip" (April 11th), Indian prime minister Narendra Modi enjoys unprecedented popularity and profile not only in India but globally because of his impeccable personal character and integrity and thought-leadership on innovative, inclusive governance and sustainable development." 

 "...The fight against the deeply entrenched ecosystem of corruption (created by the 55-year rule, including first 30 years, by a single dynastic party in India) is a major factor behind Mr Modi's ever-growing popularity," the ambassador wrote. 

 Hitting out at the envoy's remarks, Congress general secretary in-charge communications, Ramesh said, "Defending the Government of India is one thing and is to be expected. But to attack Opposition parties openly in thus manner like a party apparatchik is not expected from an Ambassador even if he be a political appointment." 

 He later said in another post, "I stand corrected. This Ambassador is actually a career diplomat which makes his comments even more shameful, disgraceful and completely unacceptable. He has actually breached service rules and should be sacked right away". 

 "This is unprofessional and disgraceful behaviour on his part-but is par for the Modi course I guess," the Congress leader said. Sharing the envoy's rejoinder, the embassy said on X, "Ambassador @AkhileshIFS's rejoinder to @IrishTimes' highly biased & prejudiced editorial (Modi tightens his grip' April 11, 2024), casting aspersion on Prime Minister of India, Shri @narendramodi, Indian democracy, law enforcement institutions & 'Hindu-majority' people of India." PTI
13:47   Men who fired outside Salman's house did 2 recces
In the latest development in the firing incident outside Salman Khan's Bandra house, Mumbai's Killa Court on Tuesday sent the two arrested accused to the custody of the Mumbai Crime Branch until April 25. 

 The accused, identified as Vicky Gupta (24) and Sagar Pal (21), belonging to Bihar, were presented before the court after a medical examination.

Police said the accused recced Salman Khan's house in Mumbai thrice before the firing incident.     

At around 5 am on Sunday, two motorcycle-borne persons had opened fire outside 58-year-old Khan's house at the Galaxy Apartment in Bandra area of Mumbai and fled the spot.
13:03   Modi gave Rs 16L crore to 25 people: Rahul
Senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday lashed out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, calling him an instrument of a few rich businessmen in the country. 

 Gandhi alleged that Modi's job was to distract people from the real issues in the country, protect the richest businessmen in India and "forgive their bank loans". 

 "PM Narendra Modi is the instrument of five or six of the biggest, richest businessmen in India," the sitting MP from Wayanad contended. 

 He claimed that Modi has given around Rs 16 lakh crores to 20-25 people in the country.

"But he does not talk of the issues farmers are facing in the country, the unemployment or the price rise," Gandhi said while speaking to party supporters, workers and the huge crowd that turned up for his roadshow from Kodiyathur in this district. 

 On the electoral bonds issue, he said the bonds were a form of extortion carried out by PM Modi. Accusing the BJP and the RSS of trying to destroy and change the Constitution, he said that this was the only big issue of the 2024 Lok Sabha polls and all other issues emanated from it.
12:59   Sunita Kejriwal may campaign for AAP in Gujarat
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's wife Sunita Kejriwal is likely to campaign for the Aam Aadmi Party in Gujarat in the Lok Sabha polls, sources said on Tuesday. The party is likely to announce its list of star campaigners for Gujarat later in the day. 

 "She is likely to campaign for AAP candidates in Gujarat," a party source said. Chief Minister Kejriwal was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate on March 21 in an excise policy-linked money laundering case. 

He is currently in judicial custody in Tihar. 

 Of the 26 Lok Sabha seats in Gujarat, the AAP is fighting two -- Bharuch and Bhavnagar -- as part of the INDIA bloc, while its ally Congress is contesting the remaining 24 seats.

 The AAP has fielded Chaitar Vasava from Bharuch and Umesh Makwana from Bhavnagar. The Lok Sabha elections in Gujarat will be held in a single phase on May 7 and the last date for filing nomination papers is April 19. PTI
12:39   Phase I polls: Party with most candidates with criminal records is...
The seven phased Lok Sabha polls were announced on March 16. The first phase is on April 19 and the last one on June 1. A total of 102 constituencies in 21 states and Union Territories have polling in the first phase. That includes 39 in a large state like Tamil Nadu, with an add-on in the form of the adjoining Union Territory of Puducherry.
12:32   Punish those against Constitution: Modi tells Bihar
Launching a blistering attack on the opposition bloc INDIA, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said this election is to punish those who are against India's Constitution and opposing the Centre's efforts to make the country a Viksit Bharat'. 

 He also accused the opposition leaders, including those of the RJD and the Congress, of playing politics with the Constitution. Speaking at an election rally in Bihar's Gaya district, the PM said, This election is only to punish Ghamandia' (arrogant) alliance leaders. 

It is to punish those who are against the Constitution and opposing the Centre's initiatives to make India a Viksit Bharat'. Bihar's former chief minister and Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) founder Jitan Ram Manjhi is contesting from Gaya as an NDA nominee. The PM said this election is for 'Viksit Bharat' and 'Viksit Bihar'. 

 "The Congress and its partners are resorting to lies in the name of the Constitution just to abuse me. The NDA respects the Constitution..even Babasaheb Ambedkar can't change this," he said. 

 The PM also said, "They (opposition leaders) call Santana dharma "dengue and malaria". They don't deserve even a single seat...they must be punished."

 He also alleged that the RJD is the symbol of corruption and goonda raj. The RJD has given only two things to Bihar- jungle raj and corruption...Corruption flourished like an industry during its regime in Bihar, PM Modi claimed. 

 The Congress has lost an opportunity to make India a 'Samridh Bharat'. The RJD and the Congress only play politics in the name of social justice, Modi alleged. Tight security arrangements were in place in Gaya in view of the PM's visit. Later in the day, the PM is also scheduled to address another rally in Purnea Lok Sabha
12:13   MP: 200-km green corridor created to transport kidney of brain-dead man
A green corridor of about 200 km was created between Bhopal and Indore in Madhya Pradesh to transport a kidney harvested from a brain-dead man, officials said on Tuesday. The police are roped in to create green corridors by clearing traffic for ambulances to transport organs.

 Talking to PTI, Dr Rakesh Bhargava, a member of the State-Level Authorisation Committee for organ donation, said Harishankar Dhimole (56), a teacher at a government primary school in Sagar district, had suffered a brain haemorrhage and was brought to Bansal Hospital in Bhopal on April 12. 

 "Dhimole was declared brain dead during treatment, and after his family agreed to donate his organs, his kidneys were harvested on Monday," he said. 

 One of the kidneys was transplanted to a needy patient at Bansal Hospital, and the other kidney was transported through a green corridor for a patient at Indore's Choithram Hospital, Dr Bhargava said. Dr Amit Bhatt, deputy director (Health Services) of Choithram Hospital, said, "It took only two hours and 45 minutes to transport the kidney from Bhopal to Indore due to the green corridor, whereas it takes three-and-a-half to four hours to cover this distance."

 Dhimole's son Himanshu said, "My father's organ donation has given a new lease of life to two patients. It is a matter of pride for our family. We cannot express this feeling in words." PTI
12:03   You can't degrade allopathy: SC tells Patanjali
Update: Yoga guru Ramdev and Patanjali Ayurved managing director Balkrishna on Tuesday told the Supreme Court they are willing to tender a public apology in the misleading advertisements case.

"I am willing to give a public apology," senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Ramdev and Balkrishna, told a bench of Justices Hima Kohli and Ahsanuddin Amanullah. 

 The apex court asked Ramdev and Balkrishna, both of whom were present in the court, to come forward for an interaction with the bench. "They should feel they have a connect with the court," the bench said. 

"You are doing good work but you can't degrade allopathy," SC tells company's MD Balkrishna.

The court grants one-week time to Ramdev, Balkrishna and Patanjali to issue a public statement in the advertisements case. "We are not saying at this stage we are letting them off the hook," SC tells Ramdev's counsel.

The hearing in the matter is underway and the bench is currently interacting with Ramdev. Ramdev and Balkrishna have tendered an "unconditional and unqualified apology" before the apex court over advertisements issued by the firm making tall claims about the medicinal efficacy of its products. 

 In two separate affidavits filed in the court, Ramdev and Balkrishna have tendered an unqualified apology for the "breach of the statement" recorded in the November 21 last year order of the apex court. In the November 21, 2023 order, the top court had noted that counsel representing Patanjali Ayurved had assured it that "henceforth there shall not be any violation of any law(s), especially relating to advertising or branding of products manufactured and marketed by it and, further, that no casual statements claiming medicinal efficacy or against any system of medicine will be released to the media in any form". 

 The top court had said Patanjali Ayurved Ltd is "bound down to such assurance".
11:50   Ramdev tells SC: Will give public apology
Advertisements case: Ramdev and Patanjali Ayurved Ltd MD Balkrishna say they are willing to tender public apology. "I have no intention to show disrespect to court in any manner," Ramdev tells SC during hearing in misleading ads case.

Ramdev and his aide Balkrishna are in he Supreme Court today as it hears the contempt case against Patanjali Ayurved in connection with its misleading ads and Covid cure claims. 

The court had come down heavily on the Patanjali founders during the previous hearing last week. It had also pulled up the Uttarakhand government for not acting against the Haridwar-based company.
11:06   Congress: Is the party withering away?
"That Rahul Gandhi is confused about organisational matters and incoherent about political messaging is a grouse most of them, including those who have closely worked with him over the decades, invariably share in private chats. This glaring shortcoming of the leader -- which broadly translates to the failure of his party in gauging the strength of its ideological opponent -- has a correlation with the mass exodus of Congress leaders and workers across the country, many of them aver."

Read the column here. 
Pandit Nehru speaks at the White House
Pandit Nehru speaks at the White House
11:00   Rajnath blames ex PMs from Nehru to Rajiv for...
Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh criticized the Congress on Monday, stating that despite continuous rhetoric about eradicating poverty from Jawaharlal Nehru to Rajiv Gandhi, the party failed to provide effective solutions. 

 Addressing a public rally in Jammu and Kashmir's Kathua, Singh emphasized the lack of concrete plans from the Congress over the years. He also highlighted the BJP's initiatives, including uplifting over 1 crore women to 'Lakhpati Didi' status through Self Help Groups. 

 "From 1951, the Congress, from Jawahar Lal Nehru to Rajiv Gandhi, had talked about eradication of poverty, but did not present any solution to eradicate it," Singh said, according to a BJP press release. 

 He said that more than 1 crore women have been made 'Lakhpati Didi' through the help of the Self Help Group and the BJP has promised to make 3 crore women Lakhpati Didi. Union Minister and incumbent MP and BJP Lok Sabha Candidate from Kathua Jitendra Singh, BJP General Secretaries Ashok Kaul and DK Manyal, among other leaders, were present in the public rally. 

 According to the BJP release, Rajnath Singh mentioned that the BJP has worked for the development of Jammu and Kashmir and also took the decision of abrogating Article 370 to integrate Jammu and Kashmir as an inseparable part of India. 

However, Singh criticized the NC, PDP, and Congress for opposing the article and misleading the public. Rajnath Singh praised Jitendra Singh, stating that as a minister, he fulfills his responsibilities excellently and effectively presents viewpoints in the Parliament. 

Singh claimed that instead of relying on previous trends, Jitendra Singh will emerge victorious with the public's blessings and majority votes. The Union Defence Minister highlighted that it is not just India but the whole world that acknowledges the nation's rapid progress. India's stature has increased internationally. 

"Earlier, when India spoke on the international stage, its words were not taken seriously enough. But today, when India speaks on the international stage, the whole world listens attentively," he said. 

 Rajnath Singh noted that under Prime Minister Narendra Modi's leadership, India has progressed economically, jumping from the 11th to the 5th position in terms of its economy's size since 2014.
10:50   IMD issues thunderstorm warning with moderate rain for Thane
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) issued a nowcast warning of thunderstorms accompanied by lightning and light to moderate spells of rain with gusty winds in Thane for the next 3 to 4 hours between Monday and Tuesday, giving temporary respite from the heatwave conditions in the district.

 "Thunderstorms accompanied by lightning and light to moderate spells of rain with gusty winds reaching 30-40 kmph are very likely to occur at isolated places in the district of Thane during the next 3-4 hours," IMD said on Monday. 

 The IMD issued a notice to take precautions while moving out. The IMD has alerted Mumbai and several other regions in Maharashtra about impending heat conditions on April 15 and April 16, 2024.
10:43   India's envoy to Ireland breaks MCC?
Political activist Yogendra Yadav red flags the Indian ambassador to Ireland's letter to an Irish paper praising PM Modi. Yadav asks, "Is his not a violation of Model Code of Conduct? Can a serving diplomat bat for a candidate and run down an opposition party, that too in the middle of a national election? @ECISVEEP."

This is what the envoy wrote: See here 
10:14   Poll staff reach Naxal-hit Gadchiroli by choppers
With three days left for the Lok Sabha poll in Maharashtra's Gadchiroli, authorities on Tuesday started the process of moving 295 election staffers by helicopters at sensitive and hypersensitive locations in the insurgency-hit district, an official said. 

 Polling parties along with the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) and other equipment were being moved to various locations in Gadchiroli, where voting will be held on April 19, Superintendent of Police Neelotpal said. 

 Authorities started the process of moving 295 polling personnel of 68 booths at sensitive and hypersensitive locations in Gadchiroli with the help of helicopters of the Indian Air Force and the Army, he said.

 The Gadchiroli-Chimur Lok Sabha constituency will see a direct contest between BJP's sitting MP Ashok Nete and Congress candidate Dr Namdev Kirsan. The constituency has 16,12,930 voters, including 8,11,836 men, 8,010,82 women and 12 transgender persons. PTI
The Kolhapur palace part of which belongs to the family
The Kolhapur palace part of which belongs to the family
10:03   Why Shivaji's descendant did not choose BJP
Shahu Chhatrapati, scion of the Kolhapur royal family, has said he chose the Congress for his poll debut as he draws inspiration from his great grandfather Rajarshi Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj, a hugely revered figure among all segments of society for his bold social reforms. 

 The 76-year-old, who will take on the Eknath Shinde-led Shiv Sena's sitting Kolhapur MP Sanjay Mandlik, in an interview to PTI said though it is his poll debut, he has been in touch with politics for a long time. 

 "I have always been on the periphery of it," he said. Speaking about contesting on the Congress ticket, he said, "It is the oldest political outfit in the country and a pan-India party, associated with the Independence movement." 

 "We have to retain democracy in India, which everyone feels is in danger. The Constitution needs to be protected," Shahu Chhatrapati said. There are "danger bells", as elections to local bodies have not happened for many years, he pointed out. 

 "What if something goes wrong? We have to protect democracy and the Constitution. It is of paramount importance. Democracy has to be safeguarded and that is the base of everything," he emphasised. On the significance of the Kolhapur royal family of Maharashtra, he said its members are supposed to be dedicated to the interests of the people and have to work for their welfare. 

 The septuagenarian, a highly respected figure in the district, said Kolhapur flourished because of his visionary great grandfather Rajarshi Shahu Maharaj, who he termed as the centre point of equality. 

 "My great grandfather was an illustrious social reformer and stood for all-inclusive development. He never encouraged polarisation of people. He worked for socio-economic upliftment and I take inspiration from him," Shahu Chhatrapati said. 

 The Congress candidate, who is a graduate in History, Economics and English, said he wanted to carry forward his grandfather's legacy of fighting injustice and bringing about public welfare. Shahu Chhatrapati, who is associated with educational institutions and charitable trusts created by Rajarshi Shahu Maharaj and his late father Shahaji Chhatrapati, said he disagreed with the BJP that the Congress had done nothing for the country's development. -- PTI
Representational image
Representational image
09:54   Egg donated for mosque construction fetches over Rs 2.26 lakh
A sweet, heartwarming story to get your day going... 
An egg donated to raise money for the construction of a mosque in this apple town in north Kashmir's Baramulla district has helped raise Rs 2.26 lakh in an auction, the committee managing the religious place has said.

The heartwarming gesture has come to the fore from Malpore village in Sopore, 55 kilometre from Srinagar, where the local mosque committee started collecting donations both in cash and in kind. An elderly woman, who has requested anonymity, said she donated a freshly laid egg by her chicken. 

 All donations made in kind were put up for auction and the egg turned out to be the most sought after. 

 A local resident said people bid on the egg for three days and after every round, the successful bidder paid the amount they bid and then returned the egg to the committee as a donation to raise more money. 

 On the final day of the auction, a young businessman named Danish Ahmad bought the egg for a whopping Rs 70,000. Ahmad, who hails from the neighbouring Warpora area, said, "We are very eager to complete the construction of this mosque at the earliest. As the mosque is planned to be big, the funds needed are also rather large." 

 "I am not a rich man but it was just my passion and emotion towards the sacred space...," he added. According to Ahmad, after several rounds of auction, the cumulative funds raised by bidders for the egg was a staggering Rs 2,26,350. PTI
09:43   As Israel debates response to Iran, US says...
Additional United States military assets that were moved into the Middle East before Iran's attack on Israel will remain in place, CNN reported, citing Pentagon spokesperson Major General Pat Ryder.

"As (Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin) has said, both publicly and privately, we don't want to see escalation, but we obviously will take necessary measures to protect our forces in the region and as was demonstrated over the weekend, we'll take necessary measures to defend Israel," Maj Gen Ryder said.

Maj Gen Ryder's comments come as Israel debates possible retaliation to Iran's attack.

Earlier, Israel Defence Forces (IDF) chief of staff Lieutenant General Herzi Halevi vowed answer to the Iranian attack and said that Iran's attack on Israel 'will be met with a response'.

"Iran wanted to harm the strategic capabilities of the State of Israel, this is something that did not happen in the past," Lt Gen Halevi said while addressing troops at Nevatim airbase, which was hit in the strike.

"We were prepared in the 'Iron Shield' operation, this preparation brought Iran to also meet air superiority, which you expressed (manifested) very well," he said, CNN reported.

Lt Gen Halevi said that Israel had intelligence of Iran's strike since last Monday, adding that Israel is 'very strong and knows how to deal with it on its own'.

Meanwhile, amid fears of Israel response, US Secretary of Defence Llyod Austin spoke with the acting Deputy Prime Minister of Kuwait, Sheikh Fahad Youssef Al-Sabah and discussed the unprecedented attack by Iran on Israel, adding that US does not seek escalation, an official statement said.  -- ANI

IMAGE: Demonstrators gather to demand a ceasefire and the end of Israeli attacks on Gaza, during the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, outside the New York Stock Exchange in the Wall Street area of New York City, on April 15, 2024. Photograph: Shannon Stapleton/Reuters
Image only for representation
Image only for representation
09:07   4 Israeli soldiers injured in blast inside Lebanese territory
Four Israeli soldiers were injured in a blast that occurred as troops operated several hundred metres inside Lebanese territory overnight, The Times of Israel reported, citing the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) on Monday.

The Hezbollah terror group took responsibility for the explosion on the border.

The cause of the blast that wounded the soldiers in the western region of the border with Lebanon was under investigation by the military, which said in a statement that the explosion was of 'unknown origin'.

The military said the incident took place during 'operational activity' carried out by troops of the Golani Brigade's reconnaissance unit and the elite Yahalom combat engineering unit, on the Lebanese side of the border, several hundred metres from Israel's fence.

One soldier was seriously wounded, two were listed in moderate condition, and another was lightly hurt, according to the IDF.

The troops were airlifted from Lebanese territory to a hospital in Israel.

Claiming the blast, Hezbollah said it placed several explosive devices adjacent to the border, inside Lebanese territory, in an area across from the northern Israeli community of Adamit.

Meanwhile, Israel Defence Forces (IDF) Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Herzi Halevi warned Monday that Iran's missile and drone attack on the country a day earlier, which caused slight damage to an airbase, 'will be met with a response', The Times of Israel reported.

The comments were made as he met soldiers at the Nevatim Airbase in southern Israel, where four Iranian ballistic missiles struck during the attack early Sunday.

It came hours after the war cabinet met to decide on an Israeli response.

"Iran wanted to harm the strategic capabilities of the State of Israel--that is something that had not happened before. We were prepared for the 'Iron Shield' operation--preparation that brought Iran to also encounter aerial superiority," he said, referring to the effort to counter the Iran blitz by its military code name.   -- ANI
08:22   2 arrested from Gujarat for firing outside Salman Khan's house
Two persons including the man who allegedly opened fire outside Bollywood actor Salman Khan's residence in Mumbai have been arrested from Gujarat, Mumbai police said on Tuesday.

The two were nabbed from Bhuj by a Mumbai crime branch team and they were being brought to the city, a senior official said.

The arrested men were identified as Vicky Gupta and Sagar Pal.

Motorcycle-borne shooters had opened fire outside Galaxy Apartments, Khan's residence in Bandra area, in the early hours of Sunday.   -- PTI
AIADMK general secretary Edppadi K Palaniswami/File image
AIADMK general secretary Edppadi K Palaniswami/File image
01:13   BJP tried to split AIADMK, alleges Palaniswami
AIADMK general secretary Edppadi K Palaniswami on Monday alleged the BJP tried to "split" his party but such efforts have been successfully countered. 

BJP, AIADMK's former ally, was involved in a "false propaganda" against the former as part of a "divide and rule." 

In a letter to partymen ahead of the April 19 Lok Sabha polls, he said the AIADMK has overcome many challenges since its inception in 1972. 

Unwanted weeds in the "field called AIADMK have been removed and we are ready for harvest," he said in what seemed to be an apparent reference at expelled party leader O Panneerselvam and his supporters. 

"The BJP, despite being a national party has descended to a divide and rule of the people, carrying out a false propaganda against us as its full-time election campaign." 

"After countering the various efforts undertaken by them to split our party, today we stand strong united. Haven't we been witnessing the violence, venomous arrows shot from the north, the obnoxious arrangements made due to the arrogance of power since 1972 when the party was founded. Haven't we been tasting success overcoming all these cowardice," he said. -- PTI
00:44   Govt collects Rs 27k cr in taxes from sr citizens
The government has likely mopped up over Rs 27,000 crore in taxes from senior citizens on the interest they earned on term deposits last fiscal, researchers at the country's largest lender SBI said. 

According to the report by SBI researchers, the total amount of deposits has risen by 143 per cent in the last five years to Rs 34 lakh crore at the end of FY24 from Rs 14 lakh crore. 

High-interest rates also seem to have led to higher interest among the senior citizens to invest in fixed deposits, as the total number of term deposit accounts grew 81 per cent to 7.4 crore in the same time period, the report said. 

SBI researchers estimated that at least 7.3 crore of these accounts have a balance of over Rs 15 lakh, and assuming that the deposits fetch an interest of 7.5 percent, senior citizens have earned Rs 2.7 lakh crore in FY24 as interest alone. 

This includes Rs 2.57 lakh crore from the bank deposits and the remaining from the Senior Citizen Saving Scheme, the report said. 

"By assuming 10 percent (average) tax paid by the senior citizens harmonised across cohorts, the tax mop-up by government of India would come around Rs 27,106 crore," the report said. 

Senior citizens' share in the incremental term deposits has gone up to 30 percent now from 15 percent five years earlier, it said. -- PTI